Jack and the Beanstalk: Review

Photo Cred: Peter Adamson


Tom Duncan as Count Olaf. Photo Cred: Peter Adamson
Tom Duncan as Count Olaf. Photo Cred: Peter Adamson

I had the clever idea of dragging my theatre-loathing boyfriend to the opening night of the pantomime show Jack and the Beanstalk at The Byre Theatre this Thursday evening. Upon leaving I asked ‘how many stars would you give this show?’ ‘Five,’ he laughed. ‘It was amazing!’

The age old tale of Jack and the Beanstalk has been performed and re-performed on the stage for years but writer and director Gordon Barr gave it a unique St Andrews twist in this production; the first professional production to go up in The Byre since its re-opening in October this year.

The story focussed on the Numpty family as Christmas is threatened by Count Olaf (Tom Duncan) and the family are in danger of losing their houses, Jack (Robert Elkin) is trusted with the challenge to save the day.

It was everything you would expect from a panto: glitzy and eye-catching with plenty of larger than life performances, Jack and the Beanstalk has something to offer for everyone.

Tom Duncan’s impressive performance as a mixture between Gru from award-winning animation Despicable Me and the Grinch had the children shaking their ice-creams at the stage while Alan Steele as Dame Nellie Numpty had the adults snickering to belly-laughing dressed in a huge feather dress and assuming seductive poses with a deep, husky Scottish accent.

The performance was dynamic and interactive with the audience with old and new sing-along classics such as ‘Last Night’ from The Vamps, ‘Money, Money, Money’ from Abba and Elvis Presley’s ‘Lonely This Christmas’; not to mention some numbers from the hit musical Frozen for the children and big kids among us.

With traditional panto fare for the children and all the best loved children’s characters such as Little Red Riding Hood and a very cute Hansel and Gretel, and some subtle adult humour for the older members of the audience, Jack and the Beanstalk did the difficult job of transporting me back to my childhood while keeping my 20-year-old self entertained; you never quite knew what to expect next. Their attention to detail made the show spectacular with fantastic makeup and costume and flawless, hilarious performances.

It is the perfect festive show this Christmas and well worth the break from your studies this exam period. The show went from laugh to laugh and concluded with a standing ovation and thunderous cheers from the audience. Not only was the show magnificent, the staff were friendly and helpful; I guarantee you will be reduced to hysterics!


Jack and the Beanstalk director Gordon Barr is the Artisitc Director of ‘Bard in the Botanics’ based in Glasgow; he also directed the hugely successful Snow White pantomime in 2012. Jack and the Beanstalk will be performing from 27th of November 2014 until the 3rd of January 2015 in The Byre Theatre. Tickets are available from TicketWeb on 0844 477 1000 or by following the link on www.byretheatre.com. Tickets are also available from The Byre’s main box office. Tickets are £18.90 for adults and £13.50 for children (12 and under). Family deals are available.


Alan Steele as Dame Nellie Numpty. Photo Cred: Peter Adamson
Alan Steele as Dame Nellie Numpty. Photo Cred: Peter Adamson






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